Texas ranks as the third deadliest state for motorcycle accidents
Each year, motorcycle accidents result in thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths in Bellaire and other parts of Texas. Just in 2015, the state recorded over 5,000 accidents in which riders or passengers suffered injuries or died, according to Texas Department of Transportation data. Alarmingly, a new study reveals that Texas now ranks as one of the worst states in the country for serious motorcycle accidents.
High fatality rates
The Governors Highway Safety Association study assessed preliminary data from 2015 on motorcycle accidents and fatalities in every state, according to 12 News. It found that only two states experienced a higher number of motorcycle deaths in 2015 than Texas did. Statewide, 455 motorcyclists lost their lives in fatal accidents. Additionally, at least 1,800 more riders were left with serious injuries.
Alarmingly, the study also found that the proportion of overall traffic deaths that motorcycle accident fatalities account for has increased nationally over the last two decades. In 1995, one in 20 traffic deaths, or 5 percent of all fatalities, occurred in a motorcycle crash. By 2014, motorcycle accident fatalities represented 14 percent of all fatalities. Last year, 31 states, including Texas, saw an increase in annual motorcycle fatalities.
Accident risk factors
The GHSA study also found that motorcycle fatalities increased noticeably in a few particular settings in 2015. The number of deadly intersection accidents more than doubled from 2014 to 2015. Crashes in urban areas also rose more than 46 percent. Given these findings, motorcyclists and drivers in both areas may benefit from using additional caution to reduce their risk of accidents.
The Texas Department of Transportation recommends that passenger vehicle drivers take several steps to reduce their risk of causing a motorcycle accident. According to 12 News, these include the following measures:
- Look carefully for motorcyclists, especially when changing lanes or crossing intersections
- Avoid underestimating a motorcyclist’s speed or distance away
- Treat motorcycles like other vehicles and give each one a full lane when passing
- Leave a larger following distance behind motorcyclists
- Always use a turn signal and refrain from making unsafe lane changes near motorcycles
According to TxDOT, motorcyclists can also take several steps to reduce their likelihood of experiencing accidents. Riders should use defensive driving techniques, observe prudent travel speeds and improve their visibility by turning on their headlights. Additionally, motorcyclists should use protective gear such as helmets to reduce the risk of serious outcomes in the event that an accident occurs.
Unfortunately, if past statistics are a reliable indicator, motorcycle crashes will probably cause harm to thousands of Texans this year. Sadly, while some of these accidents may not be reasonably avoidable, some may occur due directly to the negligence of other drivers. As the TxDOT notes, about half of deadly motorcycle crashes happen when another driver fails to see a motorcycle or properly assess its speed, resulting in a collision.
In these cases, seeking legal recourse may be an option for victims or their surviving family members. For further information, victims may benefit from discussing the situation with an attorney. An attorney may be able to help a person put together a credible claim and pursue an appropriate amount of damages.